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Sales coaching

Sales coaching should be considered vital to your business

Almost every part of a business can be outsourced and many make a great-deal of sense.

  • IT support is widely outsourced and cloud computing has made this even more common.
  • Bookkeeping has long been outsourced, particularly by smaller companies.
  • HR is now being outsourced as the HR laws become ever-more complex.

One function that is rarely outsourced; however, is sales.

Why is it that people view the sales function as something to retain in house?

  • Could it be confidentiality? It is certainly no more confidential than bookkeeping, HR issues or IT security.
  • Could it be complexity of the product/service being offered? Possibly but this is where applications specialists come-in.
Man scratching his head. He needs some sales coaching
Hmmm

My own experience is that is is far more likely that there is no formal sales role. That is to say that ‘someone‘ does the selling but as part of their main job rather than AS their main job.

Time and again I see firms where a member of the family is handling the sales function, or the founder (often a trades-person / artisan) does a bit of selling alongside the main delivery and all too frequently the sales function is little more than sending out quotes in response to an enquiry: this is not selling, this sales admin.

In previous blogs you have see that people, particularly in the ‘trades‘ say that they do not want to become a ‘salesman’, or that they will bid with a hope to winning but do not sell their proposal to the prospect and both of these are reactive practices that merely fulfill a request. Neither attitude is selling.

So, that’s the negative stuff. How does a firm go about fixing things?

  • Firstly, an outside perspective is critical. Merely asking family or friends will not provide any meaningful insight into where problems may lay, and certainly not how to fix them.
  • A sales training course is obviously one thing to consider but any trainer worthy of the name will want to know which parts of selling are causing the biggest issues. Ask yourself if you are capable of identifying this yourself and I suggest the answer will be ‘No’.
  • Engaging help from the local chamber of commerce can be a useful way; however, it is essential that any help be from an experienced sales manager at a minimum. Just getting a clerk to mail you some ‘stuff’ will be a waste of your time, effort and expectations.
  • The bank has some very good people working as business banking advisors so it is worth asking there; however, keep in mind that their job is to sell you business funding!
  • Finally there is sales coaching, and this is what we do.

Engaging an experienced sales coach brings an independent and impartial set of eyes into your business. Sales coaches rely on positive word-of-mouth referrals for business so have a vested interest in doing the best for you.

Sales coaching can take many forms, be it group coaching or one-to-one. It could be assisting the MD in strategy or tactics or it could be out in the field with a salesperson or a business-owner / Trades-person.

A ‘typical’ scenario may be:

  • An office visit or sit-in on a sales meeting
  • A couple of field visits to observe customer interaction
  • A training course aimed at the specifics found
  • Three or four follow-up visits in the field with observation and feedback
  • Telephone support between visits
  • A follow-up plan as needed

It could be that after a few visits your business shifts a gear and needs no ongoing help.

If you are a trades person / artisan the approach may-well be different:

  • Firstly a discussion to learn how and why you work as you do.
  • Maybe some training on the sales principles such that you increase your ability to persuade.
  • Followed by reviewing your selling practice, your estimate/quoting practice.
  • Helping in raising your profile so that prospects can find you.

At Venture Training we work around and within your business. We get to know the people within your business and help you identify where they can be strong and how to get them there.

The principle thing to keep in mind is that doing nothing is not the answer. That old adage of “always do what you’ve always done and you’ll always get what you’ve always got” simply does not hold water these days. Do nothing, change nothing and you will go backwards as others go forwards and leave you behind.

Get in touch with us here. We’ll have a free chat with you and see where to go from there. You have nothing to lose.

If nothing else, follow us on Twitter and get some free sales tips: @VentureTrain

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